Why you should make a difference in life


Make a differenceWhere are you going dear reader? What is it you want to achieve in life? If you’re anything like me you’ll be asking yourself these questions frequently.

However any vision you have for your life should not just involve some notion of what you want to achieve. Well I think so anyway.

In looking to the future, your vision should also include something you would like to leave behind, surely?

I’m talking about your legacy. In other words, what you will leave behind for future generations.

So there’s another question you should be asking yourself and that is, For what do I want to be remembered?

Developing a clear idea of what you want your legacy to be will focus your attention on what you need to do to achieve it. This will involve more than just establishing priorities. It requires you to consider what truly matters to you.

Once you know what really matters to you, then you will know where to focus all of your energies.

If you can connect with your highest values, then this will have a profound effect on your behaviour. That in turn should provide you with the motivation and the drive to pursue your life’s purpose. Your raison d’etre.

However you should also recognise this fact. If your life’s purpose is to be achieved then there will be a price to pay. That’s why you’ll need to be driven.

So, how do you turn your vision into reality?

Like every journey, it starts with the first step. You think about what needs to be done, but not for too long, and then you start doing and you keep going until you get to where you want to be.

Like many people, you may be thinking that you have to have everything ‘just right’ before you can begin to achieve your aims. That’s not so dear reader.

If you wait for everything to be perfect, then it will never happen.

The danger with waiting for everything to be perfect is that you delay and delay and never get any traction on moving things closer to where you want to be.

Your life’s purpose will only become clearer as you experience life, and gradually adjust your direction based on your experiences. Every successful person goes through many experiences before they find that thing that will allow them to truly make a difference.

This is a process of incremental changes that gradually take you in a direction which is most appropriate for you.  And if you’re heading in that direction, you’re almost certainly reinforcing what works for you.

If you just keep moving in the right direction you will achieve your aims. It may take longer than you’d like, it may not be as dramatic as you thought it would be, but you will get there. The key word is perseverance. Keep going until you achieve what you want to achieve.

Achievement is a confidence builder. The more you achieve, the more you believe you can achieve. With confidence and self-belief you can achieve anything you want to achieve.

You’ll find dear reader, if you haven’t already, that achievement changes your experience of being alive.

Not only does it make you feel good about yourself, as a natural consequence it also produces what will become your legacy and that will have made your life a life worth living and a life well-lived.

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Your life on earth timeline; what’s it all about?

Life on Earth TimelineDo you ever think about your life on earth timeline dear reader? Have you ever asked the question, what’s it all about?

The timeline to which I refer is our journey from the cradle to the grave. There is no road map for this journey, we learn as we go along and use what we learn to improve our lives as best we can.

Along the road of life’s journey we face an endless stream of choices at various times in our lives.

However fear not the choices you make because every decision you make will be a valid one. Most decisions you make will be based on imperfect information so all you can do is make a judgement as best you and act accordingly.

Inevitably, outcomes won’t always be favourable but that doesn’t mean we’ve made a bad choice. It just means life has a lesson we must learn. That’s the thing about mistakes they are just lessons which over time provide us with that valuable commodity known as experience.

So make decisions to the best of your ability and then, if they don’t work out, just look for the lesson and learn it well. Never let anyone tell you that making mistakes is a bad thing.

Despite anything people will tell you to the contrary, there is nothing wrong with making mistakes because that’s how we gain experience and that’s how we grow in character.

That said, whilst making a mistake is perfectly reasonable, making the same mistake frequently is not.

Make a mistake once and that’s acceptable; make it twice and you’re starting to look a little bit careless. Make it three times and people will start to have serious doubts about you.

So the message today is to accept that you’ll make mistakes but try not to make the same mistakes too often.

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People or Money? Which one matters most?

People or MoneyOccasionally I’m sure we all think to ourselves, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be rich and financially secure?

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Money, money, money!

You’d be able to do what you want; travel anywhere; and buy anything. You’d have high quality clothes; the latest fashions; and all the latest gadgets.

No more searching for cheap flights and even cheaper holidays. And you wouldn’t have to worry about a job anymore either. Wealth would mean the end to all your problems surely?

Well maybe wealth would eliminate some of your problems but actually it would present you with lots of new ones too.

Riches may be chains of gold but they’re still chains.

Everyone has their problems, regardless of any wealth and privilege they may enjoy. People just have different problems.

For a start, when you have plenty of money, you become the caretaker of your own possessions. You worry about the volatility of financial markets and how your wealth will be affected. Everyone is trying to sell you something and/or give you advice. And people resent you for your wealth.

Then you become a magnet for criminals and con artists, and indeed politicians,  who want a piece of your wealth. You don’t know who you can trust anymore. Do people become your friends because they like you or are they simply after your money?

So winning the Euro Millions lottery, for instance, would have an impact on your life in ways you couldn’t begin to imagine. It wouldn’t solve all your problems, it would present you with many more.

For those readers who are rich; good luck to you.

For those people working hard to become rich; good luck to you too. I hope you achieve your goals and enjoy your wealth when you find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

However whatever your financial circumstances, never ever forget this; only people matter.

You can have all the money in the world but without family and close friends you would have absolutely nothing at all.

It’s the people in our lives that make life really worth living.

They make us laugh, they make us cry. They’re there for us when we need someone to listen; someone to put an arm around our shoulder and tell us that everything will be fine; and someone to give us a pat on the back when we’ve done well.

Money might make life comfortable but does it really make you rich? I don’t think so anyway.

If your life is blessed with good people who care about you then that’s when you’re truly rich. If you also have a sense of purpose and a hobby then actually you have all you need.

Money is very nice to have of course and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from seeking to build wealth.

However money alone will not make you happy. To be happy your life needs people, purpose and a pastime.

These are the things that really matter. Money is simply the icing on the cake. Nice to have of course but not essential to your happiness. Whereas having people in your life is essential to your happiness.

If you could only have either money or family and friends, which would you choose? I’d choose people every time.

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This is the key to success in one lesson

Key to SuccessDear reader, would you like to know the key to success? It’s simple really.

Success starts with making a decision. You decide what you want to achieve; then you decide that you will go out and get it. Once your decision has been made you pursue your objective with determination and tenacity and you don’t allow anyone or anything stop you.

In 1960 the US President John Kennedy made a speech in which he said that by the end of that decade the United States would put a man on the moon. And in 1969 the United States fulfilled that promise made by Kennedy.

Now Kennedy didn’t know how they would achieve the goal he articulated in 1960.

However he believed in their ability to do it; he believed they could develop the technology to do it; and he made a decision that they would do it; but ultimately in making his promise there was an element of risk.

There is risk in everything we do and nothing exceptional will ever be achieved without some degree of risk along the way.

Lesser men and women may allow fear to stop them. However men and women destined for great things will feel the fear and they’ll do it anyway.

Greatness cannot be achieved without paying your dues along the way. That is a fact.

Anything worth having will come with a price tag, namely blood, sweat and tears. So be bold, be strong and pursue your dream with passion.

Yes it will be challenging mentally and emotionally. And yes, plenty of people will tell you that it’s not possible or that you’re not quite good enough.

Well don’t listen to the naysayers and negative Nellies.

If you really want it, whatever it is, just keep pushing and never, ever give up until you get to where it is you want to be.

Greatness can be achieved by anyone with sufficient determination.

So whatever it is you really want to do, just go out there and do the damn thing. Do it now. Believe you can and you will.

If you’re still not convinced then take a look at this video which I think is a really fantastic motivational speech.

Watch it now and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. And the bottom line is; you’ve got to be fearless.

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Why enjoying yourself can never be a waste of time

Enjoying yourselfTime you enjoyed wasting, was not wasted. ~John Lennon

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a great believer in making the most of your time.

In particular, a constant message is that you should not waste your time. However, as with everything, it is important to strike a balance.

As John Lennon reminds us in his observation above, truly enjoying yourself can never be a waste of time.

Enjoying yourself and having fun has positive benefits for your health.

For a start, it reduces stress. Also what would be the point of life if you couldn’t have a little fun occasionally?

Remember the words in that old Music Hall song, “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think. Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink.”

You can’t be serious all the time. Sometimes you’ve just got to have some fun. So go on. You know you want to.

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Why passion is the key to success

Why passion is the key to successIf success is your aim then received wisdom suggests that you should find your passion. You’ve heard that before dear reader I’m sure. However the phrase is now spoken so often that it’s has become a bit of a cliché, don’t you think?

And of course once something becomes a cliché then it’s hard to take it seriously, would you agree?

Then again, just because something has become a cliché doesn’t in itself mean that it lacks an underlying truth.

From experience I can tell you that if you really want to succeed at anything then whatever it is must matter to you. And I’m not talking about mattering just a little bit. I mean it really, really, really must matter to you. It must be as important to you as the air that you breathe.

You can call it a ‘passion’; you can call it something with which you have ‘a sense of connection’; or you can call it your ‘Why’. Whatever you call it, you’ll only have the determination to see it through as far as it goes if it actually matters to you.

How lucky are those people who find something in life that matters so much that it drives them to make their mark. To be recognised for making a significant contribution to their chosen pursuit.

That pursuit may be painting or writing or playing a musical instrument. It may be computers or fast cars. It may be starting a business and making serious money. Whatever it is, it’s that special something which for those people is not only interesting and absorbing but rewarding too.

It becomes so important to them that it would be their hobby if they couldn’t make a living at it. Because they love it so much, it’s not work at all, for them it’s a pleasure.

It’s something for which they have a sense of enthusiasm or ‘passion’ and instinctively they recognise that it’s what they’re good at. And of course, because they love it, they practise and keep practising. And because they practise they hone their skills and they get even better at it. This creates a virtuous circle.

Constant practise will help you excel and reach the very top of your game.

Sadly for most people, that special something is something they never find.

However, if you’ve yet to find that special something, you must never stop looking. One day you might just stumble upon it and it’s never too late for you to become the person you really could be.

That’s why passion is the key to success.

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The importance of friends to our lives

FriendsFriends are the family you choose. ~Jess C. Scott

Were you a fan of that wonderful American, television sitcom Friends? Wouldn’t it have been great to share their company and all the fun they had in Central Perk?

For me that show highlighted the important role our friends play in our lives.

It is a fact that we don’t get to choose our relatives but the good news is that we do get to choose our friends.

Friends is a relationship of equals.

Friends are the people whose company we enjoy; people with whom we feel a real sense of connection and with whom we share common interests. They are also people we’d be willing to go out of our way to help if we thought they were in trouble.

Family and loyalty go together of course. You can’t really have one without the other. And a relative can be a friend too. As were Ross and Monica in Friends.

However just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you’ll like them or that they’ll like you. Being related is no guarantee you’ll enjoy their company.

Friends are different; friends are special.

If you have a small number of really close friends then you’re very lucky indeed.

Appreciate your friends because they’re the people that make life worth living. They’re the people that add a sparkle to a life that could otherwise be quite dull.

Let me know what you think:

Well I’ve given you my opinion but what about yours?

Do you have any experiences of friends, either the people you like to hang out with or the sitcom, that you’d like to share with other readers?

I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment.

Friends the sitcom:

Friends the sitcom is still available on DVD of course should you want to re-live the memories of this peerless classic. You can check it out on Amazon if you CLICK HERE.

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Disclosure: This post includes Amazon Affiliate links, meaning I will receive a modest commission should you make a purchase from Amazon via one of the links included in the text. However there would be no additional cost to you in making any purchase. These commissions serve only to help with the cost of maintaining and operating this website. Your understanding in this matter is truly appreciated. Thank you.

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

How to deal with criticism in the workplace

How to deal with criticism in the workplaceHave you ever had a problem dealing with criticism in the workplace dear reader?

If you have, you’re not alone.

Most of us can be a little sensitive when we’re criticised by other people, particularly in the workplace. That’s natural and I struggle with it just as much as the next person.

However over the years I’ve learned that criticism comes in two types, as follows:-

  1. Constructive criticism; and
  2. Destructive criticism

What’s the difference?

People who offer constructive criticism are genuinely trying to help, even if that isn’t immediately obvious.

However just because they’re trying to help doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right in what they’re saying. I’ll get back to that point shortly.

When you’re being subjected to destructive criticism then someone is just having a go at you.

That may be to bolster their own ego or they may not like you very much and so can’t resist the temptation to belittle you or just generally make you feel uncomfortable.

Remember there are people who get off on other peoples’ discomfort and having a go a people. These are the haters and the trolls. They exist in the workplace, as well as on social media.

How to deal with constructive criticism:

When you’re on the receiving end of criticism, don’t take any of it personally. Remember you’re bigger than that.

Just remain calm; listen to what’s being said; consider the person saying it; and of course the rationale behind their comment.

As you absorb what has been said to you, ask yourself this question “Is this person being constructive or destructive?

If you feel they’re being constructive in offering their comment then the next question to ask yourself is, “Do they have a fair point?

In answering that question you must be really honest with yourself.

Remember it’s a sign of maturity when you can acknowledge your own inexperience and mistakes.

And you can’t learn from your mistakes unless you recognise them first.

So if after careful reflection you feel that they do have a fair point then take it on-board and use it as a learning opportunity.

At this point thank your critic for the feedback and decide how you might use it to improve and be better at what you do.

You might even ask your critic for suggestions if you think they can help you.

Even constructive critics are not always right:

Not every self-appointed critic has a universal monopoly on knowhow and common sense, however well-intentioned they may be. Even so-called experts get stuff wrong occasionally.

So in reflecting on any constructive criticism offered, your judgement might be that they don’t have a fair point. And as long as you’re being really honest with yourself, it’s perfectly reasonable to say, “You know what? I think they’re wrong.

If that’s the case then be polite, thank them for their feedback and agree to disagree if necessary.

Accept that they offered their comment in good faith and their intentions were honourable but just move on, without any sense of feeling hurt just because someone had the temerity to question your approach.

They’re entitled to their opinion but you don’t have to accept it.

How to deal with destructive criticism:

If someone is attempting to be destructive in their criticism then don’t rise to the bait. Just smile politely and move on.

Do not give anyone the satisfaction of a reaction or signs that they’ve got to you. That’s the oxygen on which they feed. It’s the dopamine hit which they crave.

You’re better than that so don’t allow yourself to get drawn into their game. They’re unworthy of a reaction or any of your emotional energy.

And never allow such people to chip away at your self-esteem.

That’s what they’re trying to do, so know that and as you’re smiling just say to yourself, “I’m better than you and your attempt to have a go at me won’t get you anywhere. So stop wasting your time and mine.

Conclusion:

Recognise that criticism has two forms. Either way never take any of it personally, even if you suspect your critic is being personal.

If your critic is being constructive, then be honest with yourself and question whether your critic has a point. If they do have a point then you must learn from it.

If your critic is being destructive then do not give then the satisfaction of a reaction. Just smile and move on.

And if you’re not sure whether they’re being constructive or destructive? Give them the benefit of the doubt, assume they’re being constructive and act accordingly.

Your experiences:

Dear reader, I’m sure you have your own experience of being criticised. It would be surprising if you didn’t.

I’d love to hear how you dealt with it and whether you found it all difficult to deal with.

Please share your experiences with my readers.

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The secret to happiness

Secret to HappinessIf you want to be happy with money, first, be happy without money! ~Author Unknown

When you hear news of someone winning big on a lottery, do you ever think that you’d be so much happier if only you could win big too? You’d be happy, if only you had loads of money?

Certainly having money can make life comfortable. It can allow you to do all sorts of things you couldn’t do otherwise. Live in a nice house; wear the finest clothes; drive a nice car; and travel to exotic places.

However there’s one thing money cannot do and that’s make you happy. It’s a fact, having loads of money by itself will never make you happy.

If you weren’t happy without money, then suddenly gaining a substantial amount money will not change the way you feel. If anything it’s impact on your life will probably make you even less happy.

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s the capacity to appreciate life for what it is and not what you think you’d like it to be. It’s being content with what you have, whatever it is.

Happiness is a positive mental attitude; a willingness to see the good side of every situation, regardless of how bad it might actually be in reality; a determination to enjoy the moment; whilst being comfortable in your own skin.

You can work towards creating your own pot of gold by all means but in doing so never lose sight of what matters most.

A lifetime is short and it all goes by in the blink of an eye. Yesterday has gone and you may never know tomorrow. The here and now is the only certainty you have. This moment is your life, so find a way to enjoy it. Get the most out of it.

Enjoy the simple, inexpensive pleasures like having a laugh or a coffee with a friend. That’s when you’ll be happiest. That’s how memories are made too.

Accept that your life will be full of challenges, which is what makes it all interesting. And recognise that in having to respond to challenges you are growing as a person. So it makes sense to respond to every challenge with enthusiasm because you can only win, ultimately. Either you’ll succeed or you’ll learn a lesson.

And remember this; as your life passes, you won’t remember expensive clothes you bought but you will remember experiences you had with the people who mattered most to you.

Enjoy life for what it is and don’t fret about what it isn’t. The secret to happiness is contentment.

If you can be happy without money then having money is just a bonus.

Now that’s what I think dear reader but do you have any suggestions as to what you believe is the secret of happiness?

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How to ensure you’re a satisfied customer

Pay beforehand was never well served. ~English Proverb

Have you ever been in a situation where someone is trying to sell you something and seemingly they can’t do enough for you? They promise so much and they seem so keen to ensure that you enjoy a ‘great customer experience‘.

Then you buy, part with your money and suddenly everything changes.

They’d love to help you but that wasn’t included in the sale price, despite you having been given the impression that it was.

This is particularly true with a service.

If you have a tradesman or woman doing work for you, for as long as they haven’t been paid, they’ll do just about anything and everything you ask.

Once they’ve been paid, “they’d love to help you but they’re far too busy”.

The moral of the story is that paying for a service before you’ve actually received it is always a mistake.

You won’t be well served if they’ve already got your money, undoubtedly that’s a fact I’m afraid.

So my message to you is clear dear reader. You pay as little as possible upfront and retain as much as possible until the work has been finished to your complete satisfaction.

Do that and you’ll always be sure to get a job well done. Part with your money first and you’ll be a hostage to fortune.

Tell us about your experiences:

Have you had any bad experiences when making a purchase or with tradespeople?

I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure other readers would love to hear from you too.

So please, add a comment and tell us all about it. Your experience can help someone else avoid being ripped off.

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